The third edition of the Florence Biennale is remembered as the first and largest exhibition in which artists from all over the world expressed their reaction to the tragic events of September 11th 2001 in New York. It was on this occasion that the Biennale endorsed the UN’s project “Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations”, a step that was also inspired by the words of the UN’s General Secretary Kofi Annan, “I believe that dialogue offers the opportunity for people from different cultures and traditions to get to know one another, whether they live at opposite ends of the globe or on the same street”.
The event also became a great showcase for contemporary art by exhibiting, for the first time, a collection of watercolours by HRH Prince Charles of England. These were granted to the Biennale as a sign of gratitude for the hospitality and friendship of the Italian Government and the Italian people.
During this edition of the event, the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement was presented to the artist Chen Cheng-Hsiung, the first Chinese abstract expressionist painter.
The event received public recognition from several sources, including Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassies of various countries, the Mayor of Philadelphia (one of Florence’s twin cities) John F. Street, and the Mayor of Portland Vera Katz.
Artistic Director: John T. Spike
After their installation 60 Minute Man at the Venice Biennale, the Finnish duo Casagrande and Rintala built their new project in the historic centre of Florence. Installation 1:2001 is an imposing circular wall, 3,185 meters high and 6,37 meters in diameter, whose “bricks” are actually 15.000 books on religion, politics, and philosophy from all over the world. As suggested by the name, the diameter of this structure corresponds to that of the Earth on a scale of 1 to 2001.
Many collateral events also marked the third edition of
the Biennale. I Macchiaioli del Caffè Michelangelo, a collection of thirty paintings by Fattori, Lega, Signorini, and other artists, all on loan from Follonica’s Amedeo Modigliani Art Gallery.
One of the most successful projects was Art as a form of relief for disabled subjects, which exhibited art by individuals with psychomotor disorders who were able to alleviate their pain and sense of solitude by making art.
This edition also hosted a drawing and painting competition open to students from schools in Tuscany.
Finally, the II Florence Biennale honoured the 2000 Jubilee by presenting Renata Minuto’s thirty paintings “The Crests of the Popes of the Jubilee”: from the first, announced by Boniface VIII in 1300 to the last one, that of Pope John Paul II in 2000.